Coventry UK City of Culture 2021
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Coventry to Celebrate Heritage Open Days 2021

Published: Thursday, 02 September 2021

Coventry Heritage Open Days 2021

Coventry is proud to be one of the cities that has participated since the beginning of Heritage Open Days 27 years ago and we are thrilled to once again showcase our amazing city.

This year’s theme is Edible England, from woodland foraging to factory floor, forgotten recipes to regional delicacies, the festival communities will be exploring the past, present, and future of our culinary heritage and culture.

Download a brochure or pick up a hard copy nearer the event from the venues taking part, Coventry libraries and the council house reception.

Find out what events and attractions are open during the Heritage Open Day Week below. Looking to extend your stay? Find out more about what Coventry has to offer and the things to do in Coventry on our website.


City Centre Walking Tours

Please meet outside the Council House on Earl Street.
Tours will last 1 - 1.5 hours approximately.

Saturday 11 September

  • 11 am - Medieval Tour
  • 2.30 pm - Literary Tour

Sunday 12 September

  • 11 am - Coventry Tour

Saturday 18 September

  • 2 pm – Coventry Tour

Sunday 19 September:

  • 2.30 pm - Literary Tour

Other tours taking place

The venues below are offering tours throughout the event. Please check individual venues for details.

  • LTB Showrooms - just turn up
  • Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Transfiguration
  • Swanswell gate and Cook Street gate tours – must pre-book
  • Drapers Hall – must pre-book
  • Charterhouse tours – must pre-book
  • King Henry VIII School – must pre-book
  • St Johns Church – just turn up
  • Lychgate Cottages – must pre-book
  • Old Bluecoats School - just turn up

Walk With Me audio tours / The Nest Open House

The Nest, Unit 3, Sandy Lane Business Park, Coventry CV1 4DQ

Talking Birds’ popular Walk With Me family-friendly walking tours return, and this time you can enjoy these entertaining and informative guided trails any time using your smartphone, tablet or MP3 player (headphones required) to tune in to the sounds of Coventry’s past.

Access is through your web browser and as you walk, listen in to the sounds of the past, present and future from some of Coventry’s oldest neighbourhoods and see your city in a new light.

  • Walk #1 Spon End
  • Walk #2 Stoke
  • Walk #4 Naul’s Mill Park/Canal: Starting from Naul’s Mill Park, Trail #4 meanders along the canal, and ends at The Nest, Talking Birds Theatre Company’s HQ, next door to the historic Daimler Powerhouse. The Nest is open for visitors 11am to 4pm on 18-19 Sept, including a display of costumes/props from Walk With Me, and family-friendly performances of Inspector Daar by Vimal Korpal, inspired by the story of the UK’s first Asian police officer (15 minute shows at 12noon, 1.30pm and 3pm Saturday and Sunday) Refreshments will be available from the Nest (Access from the canal is via Electric Wharf, or from Sandy Lane. Parking for disabled visitors only.)

Access the online maps and audio. Alternatively, call the Talking Birds Info Line on 0800 012 2401 (freephone 24 hours) for more information. Walk With Me is a Great Place project as part of UK City of Culture 2021.

Venues and activities

Further information will be added as we have it.

Anglican Chapel with walking tours in the wider London Road Cemetery

Sunday 12 September: 11am – 4pm
London Road Cemetery, London Road, Coventry, West Midlands, CV1 2JT

The Anglican Chapel survives basically unaltered since its construction in 1847 and is a significant building in a Norman Romanesque style.

The Anglican Chapel is fully accessible for wheelchair users or those with limited mobility. An accessible toilet is also available. Tours are ‘drop-in’ with no booking required.

Bagot's Castle

  • Friday 10 September: 10.30am -4pm
  • Saturday 11 September: 10.30am - 4pm
  • Sunday 12 September: 10.30am - 4pm
  • Friday 17 September: 10.30am - 4pm
  • Saturday 18 September: 10.30am - 4pm
  • Sunday 19 September: 10.30am - 4pm

Church Road, Baginton, Coventry, West Midlands, CV8 3AR.

A castle lost for hundreds of years - the original building is believed to have been constructed on the site in the 11th century, at the time of King Henry I. Read more about Bagot's Castle.

Caludon Castle Monument and Bands In the Park event

  • Sunday 19 September: 12noon – 10.30pm

Farren Road, Wyken, Coventry, West Midlands, CV2 5EH

Caludon Castle is one of only 20 scheduled ancient monuments in Coventry and it's the only one to be found in a public park. Read more about Caludon Castle.

Canal and River Trust - Heritage Working Boat

  • Saturday 11 September: 10am - 4pm
  • Sunday 12 September: 10am - 4pm

Coventry Canal Basin, 10a St Nicholas St, Coventry, West Midlands, CV1 4LY.

The Heritage Working Boats Group was formed, as a group of volunteers, to maintain a collection of working boats on behalf of the Canal and River Trust. Read more about the Heritage Working Boat.

Charterhouse / Historic Coventry Trust tours

  • Saturday 11 September: 11am – 4pm
  • Sunday 12 September: 11am – 4pm

Charterhouse Drive, London Road, (opposite London Road Cemetery), Coventry, West Midlands, CV1 2JQ.

Charterhouse is a Grade I listed 14th Century Carthusian Monastery, one of only nine ever built in Britain. Built between 1381 and 1410 with its foundation stone laid by Richard II in 1385. Read more about Charterhouse.

Charterhouse Heritage Park Weekender

Saturday 11 September: 11am – 4pm and 5pm – 10:30pm
Sunday 12 September: 11am – 4pm

Charterhouse Heritage Park, Charterhouse Drive, London Road, Coventry, West Midlands, CV1 2JQ.

Drop into our family-friendly festival by day and discover the past, present and future of Charterhouse Heritage Park. By twilight join us for a ticketed alfresco dining experience in celebration of the Charterhouse community orchard. Read more about Charterhouse Heritage Park.

Coombe Abbey Park

  • Friday 10 September: 10am - 4pm
  • Saturday 11 September: 10am - 4pm
  • Sunday 12 September: 10am - 4pm
  • Monday 13 September: 10am - 4pm
  • Tuesday 14 September: 10am - 4pm
  • Wednesday 15 September: 10am - 4pm
  • Thursday 16 September: 10am - 4pm
  • Friday 17 September: 10am - 4pm
  • Saturday 18 September: 10am - 4pm
  • Sunday 19 September: 10am - 4pm

Brinklow Road, Binley, Coventry, West Midlands, CV3 2AB.
Coombe Abbey Park offers 500 acres of beautiful gardens, woodland, lakeside walks and bird watching all set against the stunning Coombe Abbey.

Heritage Activities

  • Saturday 11 10am – 11:30am - A guided walk about the historic gardens and grounds of Coombe Abbey park.
  • A self-guided trail either to pick up or download of the history of the site and some of the people who have made the parkland and grounds a historic point of interest.
  • A children’s history trail – Gun powder plot. Find out about Princess Elizabeth and the plot to kidnap her and put her on the throne of England

Coventry Cathedral

  • Friday 10 September: 10am – 4pm
  • Saturday 11 September: 10am – 4pm
  • Sunday 12 September: 12noon – 3pm
  • Monday 13 September: 10am – 4pm
  • Tuesday 14 September: 10am – 4pm
  • Wednesday 15 September: 10am – 4pm
  • Thursday 16 September: 10am – 4pm & 7pm -9pm
  • Friday 17 September: 10am – 4pm
  • Saturday 18 September: 10am – 4pm
  • Sunday 19 September: 12noon – 3pm

The ruined Cathedral church of St Michael stands as a symbol of the triumph of Peace and Reconciliation over the horrors of war and the urge for retaliation. The ruins are known globally and attract visitors from all walks of life.

Celebrated as the UK’s favourite 20th-century building, the ‘New Coventry Cathedral is known all over the world as an icon of peace and a truly stunning venue. Designed by architect Sir Basil Spence following the bombing of the city in 1940 the New Cathedral was opened in 1962 and contains some of the finest examples of 1950s and 60s Art and Architecture in the country including artists Graham Sutherland's Great Tapestry 'Christ in Glory', one of the largest in the world, as well as Britain's largest collection of stained glass. St Michael's tower is the third tallest in England and sits next to the ruins.

Heritage Activities

  • Stories of Change: Hope, Faith and Love (Art Collection) – on for the whole duration of HOD during normal opening hours (10-4 M-Sa, 12-3 Su) – original works by Cathedral artists Beyer, Frink and Sutherland amongst others.
  • Meanwhile Festival: Softdrink & Draw – 1pm on Saturday 18 September. Family-friendly drink and draw in the New Cathedral. There should also be some free organ tours on this date.
  • Faith Project – Saturday 11 September. Co-produced by the City of Culture Trust and the RSC there will be various activities over the day including a theatre performance and children’s workshop.

Coventry Heritage Cycle Trail

Saturday 18 September 10.30am – 12noon

Discover Coventry's heritage and role in the development of the bicycle on a guided ride around UK City of Culture 2021 in partnership with Historic Coventry Trust. This ride is part of Heritage Open Days 10-19 September.

For more Cycle History and the latest developments visit Our Future Moves at Coventry Transport Museum, which is free to visit on 11 and 12 September.

The guided ride starts at Coventry's newest building the Visitor Information Centre opposite the Railway Station. From there you'll be taken around the city centre to uncover the hidden history of the bicycle industry: Did you know that one of the city's most famous buildings sits on the site of a bicycle factory? You'll also see the work of Historic Coventry Trust in bringing buildings back into use, including the City Gates by Lady Herbert's Garden and also see the transformation of the public realm for City of Culture.

(Bikes for ages 16+ are available to hire nearby from West Midlands Cycle Hire docking stations. New users can download the Beryl App and get their first 30 minute ride free, then it's 5p/minute, so just £3 for the 90-minute tour).

Coventry Model Railway Club

Saturday 11 September: 10am - 4pm
Sunday 12 September: 10am - 4pm

Coventry Model Railway Club, Unit 3, Coventry Canal Warehouse, Leicester Row, Coventry, West Midlands, CV1 4LH.

The origins of the Coventry Model Railway Club lie in the history of the much older Coventry Model Engineering Society, which had existed before World War II, and catered mainly for live steam modellers. Read more.

Coventry Transport Museum

Saturday 11 September: 10am - 5pm
Sunday 12 September: 10am - 5pm

Millennium Place, Hales Street, Coventry, West Midlands, CV1 1JD.

The largest collection of British road transport in the world. Includes the City's nationally important collections of vehicles, motorcycles and cycles as well as one of the fastest cars in the world: Thrust SSC. Read more.

Dame Goodyvers Daye celebrations

Friday 17 September and Saturday 18 September both starting at lady Godiva Statue in Broadgate, Coventry city centre at 11am

Dame Goodyvers Daye commemorating the actual and only date we have of Godiva, benefactor of the first Benedictine priory church in Coventry. In ancient times an annual feast was held in September. After a break of 500 years Pru Porretta MBE, Coventry's official Lady Godiva restored the feast day back onto the city calendar. Dame Goodyvers Daye gets bigger and better each year by including more faiths and cultures, and more Godiva Sisters. Please see the film.

Godiva Trust is a registered charity that aims to advance the education of the general public in the history of Coventry and the legend of Lady Godiva. Including the promotion of unity, advancing education and raising awareness in equality and diversity, and promoting activities to foster understanding between people from diverse backgrounds for the people of Coventry. For many years Godiva Trust has successfully engaged with various community and faith groups, community organisations, schools, and hard-to-reach groups within the city of Coventry. Pru reimagined the role of Godiva from a spectated figurehead on a horse to a strong female leader working with other female heroines from different cultures to empower their communities and to celebrate diversity across those communities collaboratively. These are the Godiva Sisters and the annual Dame Goodyvers Daye celebrates this.

Heritage Activities

  • Join us on Friday 16 September at 11 am by the Godiva Statue. Lady Godiva and the Godiva Sisters will perform with Coventry school children in dance, music and song
  • Join us on Saturday 17 September at 11 am by the Godiva Statue.Lady Godiva and the Godiva Sisters will weave a colourful musical procession through the Cathedral quarter wearing their traditional costumes that make the Godiva Family of Coventry

Drapers’ Hall

Sunday 19 September: 11am - 4pm

Bayley Lane, Coventry, West Midlands, CV1 5RN

Drapers’ Hall is Coventry’s finest Regency building. It was built in 1832 as social rooms for the Coventry Drapers’ Company, which moved out in 1960. Find out about the Drapers' Hall hard hat tour.

Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Transfiguration

Thursday 16 September: 4pm-7pm, tour 4.30pm and 6pm.

264 Westwood Heath Road, Coventry, West Midlands, CV4 8GP.

A presentation in conjunction with Westwood Heath history group centred on the former Westwood Heath school which has been a Greek orthodox church since 1976.

Holy Trinity Church

Wednesday 15 September: 10am – 4pm
Thursday 16 September: 10am – 4pm
Friday 17 September: 10am – 4pm
Saturday 18 September: 10am – 4pm

Founded in the 12th century first recorded in 1113, Holy Trinity is one of the largest medieval churches in England. Features the famous Doom painting of the Last Judgement! This extraordinary building has survived fire, reformation, and the Blitz.

Heritage Activities

  • Come along and explore the Doom painting, ancient artefacts and spectacular architecture
  • There will be a Saturday lunchtime recital taking place on Saturday 18 September at 1pm. This will last for approximately one hour and is free to attend.
  • Further details will be available on our website

Historic Cooking Virtual Event - from the Herbert Art Gallery (Digital event)

Online video premiere event

Bring the past to life through food! Historic Cooking is a show where we recreate dishes from history and reimagine them with a modern twist. From Medieval Stew to Second World War sausage rolls, all recipes are inspired by the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum’s collection.

Heritage Activities

  • Join chef Tom Adkins as he takes your taste buds on a historic journey. Historic Cooking is a video series that makes recipes from the past and then reimagines them with a modern twist. We show you how to make veggie and vegan alternatives of some classic historic dishes including Victorian cheesecakes and sausage rolls.
  • Highlights of previous videos produced and a new episode of Historic Cooking premiering online during Edible England.

New episode will launch on Friday 10 September at 1pm and lasts 20-30 minutes. Read more.

King Henry VIII School

Saturday 11 September: 10am - 4pm

Warwick Rd, Coventry CV3 6AQ
Book a ticket

The school was founded by Royal Charter in 1545 in the aftermath of the Reformation. The buildings date back to when the school moved to this site in 1885. The Tudor mock façade dates from this time although the interior was extensively remodelled following the bombing of the School in April 1941.

Heritage Activities

  • Take a walking tour of the school site and take the opportunity to view documents and other artefacts illustrating the 476 years since the School’s foundation in 1545.
  • See where the bombs dropped on 8 April 1941 and walk the same corridors as famous alumni such as Philip Larkin, Martin Jacques, Roger Harrabin, Jerry Dammers and Peter Ho Davies.
  • Meet at the School’s main entrance (the red doors at the foot of the tower) on Warwick Road. On-site parking is available and will be signposted on Spencer Road. Tours commencing at 10am, 10.30am, 11am, 11:30, 12noon, 12.30pm, 1pm, 2pm, 2.30pm and 3pm. Tour takes approximately one hour. Maximum six people per tour.

Tickets must be pre-booked.

LTB Showrooms (above the ‘Litten Tree’ Pub)

  • Friday 10 September: 10am - 5pm
  • Saturday 11 September: 10am - 5pm
  • Sunday 12 September: 10am - 5pm
  • Monday 13 September: 10am - 5pm
  • Tuesday 14 September: 10am - 5pm
  • Wednesday 15 September: 10am - 5pm
  • Thursday 16 September: 10am - 5pm
  • Friday 17 September: 10am - 5pm
  • Saturday 18 September: 10am - 5pm
  • Sunday 19 September: 10am - 5pm

The Litten Tree, 1 Warwick Row, Coventry, West Midlands, CV1 1EX.

self-guided tour route around the spaces – comprising 4 floors - with heritage displays and film content telling the story of this fascinating building.

Lychgate Cottages (3-6 Priory Row)

3-6 Priory Row, Coventry, West Midlands, CV1 5EX.

The Lychgate Cottages at 3-6 Priory Row is a row of timber-framed properties dating to around 1415. It is a remarkable survival of a pre-Dissolution building at the heart of Coventry’s city centre.

Mid-century Art and Architecture walk

  • Sunday 19 September: Walk 10.30am –12.30pm

Meet at Lady Godiva Statue.
Twentieth Century Society West Midlands | Facebook

Heritage Activities

This circular walk explores the centre of Coventry starting and finishing in Broadgate. We will look at mid-century public art and architecture. The city’s remarkable post-war heritage including the first pedestrianised shopping precinct which separated cars, pedestrians and service areas inspired developments throughout Britain and beyond. Starting in Broadgate the walk takes in Hertford Street, Bull Yard, City Arcade, Market Way, Smithford Street, the Lower and Upper Precinct.

Old Bluecoat School

  • Saturday 18 September: 10am - 12noon

The current building dates from 1856, the actual school having been founded as the first Charity School for girls in Coventry in 1714. Having not been in use for many years, it was completely refurbished as part of the Phoenix Initiative development in celebration of 2000 years since Christ’s birth. The Old Bluecoat School has been transformed and plays an important role in this key part of the City Centre. In recent years, it has been used as a residential school for youth ministry training at various times during the year, welcoming students from around the world.

The building itself was constructed over one corner of the original St Mary’s Cathedral. The evidence of this can be seen today in the cellars of the building which are actually inside one of the original pillars of the Cathedral, dating from around 1150AD

Heritage Activities

  • Not normally open to the public an opportunity to come in and view this magnificent building.
  • Ad Hoc tours available – 15 per tour approximately. Tour takes approximately 30 minutes
  • Queens Road Baptist Church

  • Thursday 16 September: 11am - 2.30pm
  • Friday 17 September: 11am- 2.30pm

Queens Road, Coventry, West Midlands, CV1 3EG.

The church congregation has been meeting since the middle ages of the 17th century but the present chapel was opened in 1884.

St John the Baptist Church

  • Friday 10 September: 10am - 2pm
  • Saturday 11 September: 10am - 2pm
  • Sunday 12 September: 11am - 2pm
  • Friday 17 September: 10am - 2pm
  • Saturday 18 September: 10am - 2pm
  • Sunday 19 September: 11am - 2pm

St. John the Baptist Church, Fleet Street, Coventry, West Midlands, CV1 3AY.

This striking Grade 1 collegiate church was described by Sir Gilbert Scott, the eminent Victorian architect as possibly the most beautiful church in the Country. Read more about St John the Baptist Church.

Swanswell Gate and Cook Street Gate

Saturday 18 September: 10am – 4.15pm

Hales St, Coventry, West Midlands, CV1 1JQ.

Despite its prominent location in the city centre and significance in Coventry’s history, the gatehouses have remained closed to the public for many years.

War Memorial Cenotaph Chamber of Silence

Sunday 12 September: 10am – 3pm
Saturday 18 September: 10am - 3pm

Kenilworth Road, Coventry, West Midlands, CV3 6PT

The Friends of War Memorial park are giving visitors a chance to see inside the 90-foot Cenotaph at the Chamber of Silence which is only normally open for Remembrance Sunday.

Weavers House and Garden (Spon End Building Preservation Trust)

  • Saturday 11 September: 10am - 4pm
  • Sunday 12 September: 10am - 4pm

121 Upper Spon Street, Spon End, Coventry, West Midlands, CV1 3BQ.

A terrace of six timber-framed artisan cottages built in 1455 known as the Black Swan Terrace.

West Midlands Cycle Hire

West Midlands Cycle Hire is the new way to get to Heritage Open Days in Coventry with bikes available at the Park & Ride, Coventry Station and Pool Meadow Bus Station and all the main attractions in the city centre. Sign up for the West Midlands Cycle Hire App and get your first 30 minute ride free.

Plan your journey with the Travel Assistant, use the Cycle icon to see the West Midlands Cycle Hire docks.

All venues will be taking part following the appropriate government guidance at the time of the event.